Content Mill Announces Unusual Requirements to Help Writers

Unusual Requirements for Content Mill Work. more freelance work? A leading content mill just stepped up to the plate to help freelancers in an unusual way.

If you’ve been thinking about chasing content mill work as a freelance writer, now might be the first time in content-mill history to consider it.

Why? For every day of the shelter-in-place orders around the world, the demand for high-quality, well-written, and engaging content keeps rising…something content mills haven’t always provided.

But that’s about to change.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve done a thorough assessment of our platforms,” says Content Mill Consortium spokesman Westley Roberts. “We need to do a better job at compensating freelance writers and helping our clients hire great talent. And that time is now.”

The plan, spearheaded by one of the top content mills in the industry, outlines changes to improve rates and connect freelance writers with quality clients, says Roberts. But there are also some unusual requirements the plan includes to help the best freelancers rise to the top.

Ready to move up and earn more? Here’s what you need to know.

The COVID-19 content mill shake-up

So what are the unusual requirements the leading member of the Content Mill Consortium plans to roll out?

Documents obtained by an insider at the Content Mill Consortium from a source only known as “Ryan,” describe the changes one leading content mill plans to implement, beginning today, April 1.

If you want to write for content mills in the COVID-19 climate, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Work for pennies. Struggle, get by, barely make ends meet writing…like a poor farm boy. It’s a way to prove yourself, earn your stripes, and maybe even have extra left over to buy bread, says Roberts.
  • Never get bylines. Even though many ghostwriting gigs pay top dollar, you can ghostwrite for content mill clients for dirt cheap. Play it safe. Do all the work and let someone else claim your byline and control your future. The trouble is you start to believe the lies that you’re “friendless, brainless, helpless, and hopeless!”
  • Rarely deal directly with clients. Why not do the dirty work for the middle man and get paid in scraps? You could, but it never ends well. It’s kind of like drinking from a glass filled with liquid and poisoned with iocane powder.
  • Race-to-the-bottom bidding. It seems like everybody else is doing it, so that must be the way it’s done. Well, it’s not. Doing freelance work this way is like punching your ticket to the fun-house called The Pit of Despair. When you ask your client for a raise, all you’ll hear is maniacal laughter and the mocking repetition of the word…”interesting.”

Wait, what? Content mills aren’t rolling out the red carpet and paying freelance writers pro rates?

Nope…Happy April Fool’s Day from Make a Living Writing.

The proven way to find freelance writing clients

If you’re serious about moving up and earning more as a freelance writer, stay away from content mills.

Sure, you might find the rare client that pays pro rates there. But most only offer a soul-sucking existence, pay pennies per word, and treat you like  an unemployed giant in Greenland or a poor orphaned boy desperate for revenge. And that’s no way to live.

The proven way to find great freelance writing clients…Reach out. Network. Introduce yourself. Market your services. Connect with editors and marketing directors in your niche. The more you do this, the closer you’ll be to storming the castle and earning pro rates.

Need help leaving the content mills? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Evan Jensen is the blog editor for Make a Living Writing. When he’s not on a writing deadline or catching up on emails, he’s training to run another 100-mile ultra-marathon.

Learn to find, price and land great gigs! Freelance writers den.

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52 comments on “Content Mill Announces Unusual Requirements to Help Writers
  1. Myrt Monroe says:

    Hahaha, I now have a favorite article from the Den, this will always be my favorite article… Thanks for sharing Carol, a shimmer of light crowned in darkness. I’m going to archive this one just in case I start feeling “content-milly”…

    • Carol Tice says:

      Thank my editor Evan — he came up with this concept and wrote it! Some people were offended, which I thought was even more hilarious… I think we all need a laugh now, more than ever.

    • Evan Jensen says:

      Hi Myrt…Thanks for the comment. Glad this put a smile on your face. My journalism-brain just couldn’t allow “said an anonymous source,” so I made up “Content Mill Consortium spokesman Westley Roberts,” inspired by the cult classic The Princess Bride. The trick was trying to write the top of this post in a way that might actually be believable.

  2. Millicent says:

    ….I even forgot such a day exists and it’s halfway the money month already. Thanks for the laugh and the reminder. I have laughed at my hunger to get a membership as a freelancer I never saw that coming. It’s so relaxing from the push I feel of getting a chance.Hoping to find one here…signed up the waiting list already. God bless the Den.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Millicent, hopefully you saw that I’m offering 1-week free passes to the Den this week, and grabbed your ticket in! See you on the forums —

  3. Aunice says:

    Ha ha. Just now reading this on April 13. Great prank! Do Content Mills still exist?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Oh, they surely do, Aunice. When I started this blog in 2008, I thought I could warn the writers of the world off them, and they’d go away. But as PT Barnum said, a new sucker IS born every minute. So the work of this blog continues!

  4. Erika says:

    Hi Carol,

    Oh my GOSH! You really got me on that one…thanks for the laughs, I needed them!!! If it hadn’t been for my son I never even would have remembered April Fool’s Day.

    Thanks, too, for all the AMAZING resources available in the Den. I’m signed up for your content strategist bootcamp, and the honest, useful, REAL advice and support you provide there is astounding for the small amount you charge.

    Fight on, soldier!


  5. Alice Wilson says:

    Yeah I agree, genius both of you!

    I got suckered the first time when Nick Cannon, host of The Masked Singer announced last night that he was leaving the show!!

    Y’all had me primed for something brilliant and I got it!

    • Carol Tice says:

      LOL that’s a good one. I actually had someone email me that they were offended by this post. I say, we need laughs now more than ever!

  6. Ubai says:

    Wow! Great April Fools prank. LOL in these tough times.
    Thanks for giving the gift of laughter.
    You are the best

  7. Carmel Murugen says:

    Lol, I had an icky feeling about this from the time I saw the headline. So relieved 🙂

    • Evan Jensen says:

      LOL. I was trying really hard to make it seem plausible in the lede paragraphs…first 175 words.

  8. Vera says:

    You made me laugh! Good night – I’m going to bed, only 20 minutes left on April Fool’s Day!

  9. Cevia says:

    OMG – I thought you had gone to the dark side, Evan. Second time today I almost got suckered, too! Have to say, that was goooood. Thanks for lightening up the mood Carol and Evan!

    • Evan Jensen says:

      LOL. We’ve seen a few content creation sites actually pay decent rates like NewsCred, but most content-mill sites have the same amount of integrity as the six-fingered man.

  10. Diane says:

    I recently wrote two things for a content mill. One assignment I enjoyed and one I didn’t. I never thought writing for them would amount to much though I thought picking up an assignment when I felt like it would help with both speed writing exercises and the write every day habit. Might as well make a little bit of money doing that.

    Well, I requested my payout, which only amounted to latte money, and two months later I still didn’t have it (they pay weekly). I told the content mill I’m not writing anything else for them until I get paid. They’ve were responsive but didn’t resolved the issue. They use a payment processor to process author payments. The processor said they didn’t have my bank account information, though I promptly responded to all correspondence.

    At round three of that I decided this is all more bother than it’s worth and I closed my accounts with the content mill and the payment processor. To their credit, the content mill did pay me my latte money outside their regular processes.

    • Evan Jensen says:

      Virtual fist bump for leaving the content mills after a bad experience, vs. staying there forever.

  11. Thomas says:

    Do people still write for content mills? Blymie. I thought by now, no writer worth their salt would ever do that. Oh well. Cheers

    • Evan Jensen says:

      People still write for content mills…(heavy sigh!). Glad you realize there’s a better way to make money freelancing. Keep going.

  12. Athena says:

    LOL–nicely done! I was wondering what in the world the content mill universe would have done to have Carol endorse this; I must read now!

    Then, as I was reading, I started thinking:
    -Consortium? That’s an interesting choice in name.
    -Work for pennies??? Damn, they got me!! LOL

    Touché, Evan–touché! LOL

  13. Florie Barry says:

    Happy April Fool’s Day Evan and Carol. I enjoy your articles and possibly missed reading a few articles over the years. What is your opinion on publishing stories on Online Publishing Platforms? Do you feel they are similar to Content Mills? As an Emerging Writer with no website or Blog yet, these Platforms are usually free, tiny payments unless members love our stories, but it should help with Marketing. Thank you for your suggestions.

    • Evan Jensen says:

      Hi Florie,
      Well, there’s a few platforms out there where you could publish your own content there and build a portfolio of samples. And it’s possible to earn well writing content on Medium. But IMO networking and pitching prospects with a well-written query or LOI is still going to be a better avenue.

  14. Well, you sucked me in!
    In fairness though, it’s April 2nd now in my part of the world. LOL

  15. You must’ve watched “Princess Bride’ to be able to so blatantly endorse it, Evan. Really? Your post ever so gently got us all going. Well done!

  16. Thanks for getting my hopes up.

  17. Bob Andrews says:

    Haha!! Well done, Carol and Evan. Totally suckered me.

    • Evan Jensen says:

      Great to give you a laugh. Content mills do a good job selling the snake oil, but it’s not where writers typically find well-paying gigs.

  18. Holly Bowne says:

    Awwwwwwww! HILARIOUS! Ha, ha!

    • Evan Jensen says:

      Yes! So how long did it take to realize this was an April Fool’s inspired blog post?

  19. Ugh…anytime I see MALWB and “content mill,” you know I MUST read it to see what’s going on! You almost had me. I had to slow down my skimming and re-read a couple paragraphs.

    This is the second April Fools joke I’ve fallen for today. You’d think I’d learn.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Ha! Mine was a friend posted that a musical was going to be performed live on TV. Huh?

    • Evan Jensen says:

      LOL. Two clues in the lede. The Content Mill Consortium is not a real organization. And Westley Roberts is a combination of names: Westly, the poor farm boy, and the Dread Pirate Roberts, from The Princess Bride.

      • Evan, now I have to go back and re-read this. 🙂 I totally missed The Princess Bride references!

        I did see Content Mill Consortium and thought it was odd that the industry would DARE label themselves “content mills,” but you still had me for a moment…

        • Evan Jensen says:

          Hi Kaitlin. Here’s a funny backstory about this. I was trying to come up with a fake name for a content mill or organization. So I randomly type in WriterTopia, thinking there’s no way someone would use this. Turns out this is an actual site for freelancers…but at the bottom of the site’s page, it looks like it was last updated in 2012. Glad you enjoyed The Princess Bride references…30-year-old movie and it’s still hilarious.
          Evan Jensen recently posted…Content Mill Announces Unusual Requirements to Help WritersMy Profile

  20. Jessica Abitz says:

    This is hilarious – you definitely got me!

  21. Tonya says:

    When I started reading this post I thought, “Carol must have a fever. She’s delirious. “ Thanks for the laugh, Evan. That’s medicine we can all use.

  22. Jason says:

    Good one, Carol!

  23. Rudy says:

    This is awesome. I was thinking to myself there is no way you all are endorsing a content mill.

    • Carol Tice says:

      And… you were right. Boom!

    • Evan Jensen says:

      “There is no way you all are endorsing a content mill.” LOL. Love it. Seriously fun to write this after consuming way too much gloom-and-doom COVID-19 craziness. We’ve been scheming about this behind the scenes for a while.

  24. Laura says:

    You got me! Good one..

    • Evan Jensen says:

      LOL. That’s good to hear. Now go pitch some more clients or go watch “The Princess Bride.”